Introduce Yourself: Icicle
Icicle started scaling the drum & bass scene’s walls in 2007, and since then he’s been one of its most consistently exciting artists. Whether he’s examining the depths that a rumbling sub, evil stabs and dirty, techy magnificence can take you on tracks like ‘Spartan’, or exploring the magic combination of floaty keys, eerie vocals and gut-shanking low end on something like ‘Still You’, or writing a track Digital & Spirit would be proud of with ‘Franky Mountain’ on Ram – his tunes always feel fresh and invigorating. Having heard some of his work outside the realms of 170BPM recently and with word of a forthcoming album, theres never been a better time to have a chat with him.
So how did you get into making music?
I started playing the piano at an early age and started playing drums a little bit later as well. As soon as I figured out you could make music with a computer I started playing around with early midi-programs. From there I got into more serious programs like Cubase, Reason and Logic. Making music on the computer in a way became like a virus and every spare minute I had I was making music.
How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?
I’m probably most well known for my minimalistic rolling D&B tracks with a big focus on heavy bass, influenced by the legendary ’98 era in drum & bass. Recently though I think I’ve been getting influenced more and more by upfront techno and the way you can progress certain sounds throughout your tune. My holy grail in making music has always been making a tune with maximum energy by using the least possible amount of elements.
You’ve signed to Shogun Audio and are writing an album for them – how did the relationship with Friction come about, and how do you see that developing?
I guess only about two to three years ago Friction was hearing my music being played by a lot of people on the scene. He got in touch and he signed a few of my tunes for his SGN Ltd. label. Since than we stayed in touch did more music together and we also got on well on a personal level. Than when he was looking to step up his label Shogun Audio we started talking about the possibilities of working together more closely. It was the right label in my opinion, able to support my whole sound, from the deeper stuff to the more dance floor orientated tracks.
We are working on an EP due out later this year and my debut album due out next year. The EP is pretty much done and will feature four new tracks, of which one is a collaboration with Noisia. In between we have plans for various remixes but I am also looking to do some techno and dubstep orientated projects.
Having heard the new track ‘There With You’, on your myspace page – can we assume you are diversifying away from D&B on the album? What prompted this decision?
Well I would put it differently. I’m diversifying but not moving away from D&B. I’ve always been very into techno and have actually been writing a lot of it for a long time, as goes for dubstep. The album will definitely feature a lot of music genres but will have a main focus on D&B. I am currently working on a few things next to the album which focus completely on techno or dubstep but I am taking my time to get it right and work with the right people.
What are your biggest musical influences?
All music around me seems to influence me a little bit. I think when you’re a producer your analyzing ears are always picking up little things, which can inspire you to try something new. From a commercial to the bleeps in the cabin of an airplane. Right now my biggest influence has to come from techno though. The way you can make the simplest element in your music progress into complex and syncopated rhythms, while maintaining a highly energetic groove.
What producers (drum & bass or otherwise) are you into, and what aspect of the music is normally the thing that grabs you first?
There are too many but a few of them are:
Apparat, a master of emotional and diverse electronic music, generally with a strong techno influenced base and melodic elements that make you reminisce.
Stimming, a techno artist. His stereo placement of sound and his general mix downs are absolutely next level.
Old stuff by Photek and Source Direct for their out of this world atmospheres and intricate drum patterns.
A Tribe Called Quest. I have listened to ‘Midnight Marauders’ a million times and it just never gets old. It’s pure jazz and musically mixed down really sharp.
What five albums are you really looking forward to this year?
Alix Perez’ album is going to be great. I have to say I’m too busy in the studio to hunt down all the forums for forthcoming albums... a recent album I am really enjoying though is Stimming's 'Reflections’.
Watch out for Icicle's remix of Alix Perez' 'Stray', out on Shogun Audio on 10th August 2009.